Wired to Ignore Climate Change?

Why, after 20 years of discussion on climate change, do so many people ignore the science and evidence of their own eyes? UBC Reads Sustainability’s first speaker of 2014, George Marshall, draws on the social psychology of climate change to tackle this question.

Marshall's UBC Reads Sustainability talk explores how a deeper understanding of the psychological obstacles to the question can lead us to find new and effective ways to think, talk, and act. His talk will challenge the bipartisan barriers of politics and worldview and build conviction based on common values and shared purpose.


Date: September 10, 2014
Time: 12:30-2pm
Place: Woodward IRC 5 (location map)

Marshall will ask questions such as:

  • Why does the issue of climate change not trigger our instinctive sense of threat?
  • Why are the victims of extreme weather events sometimes less willing to accept or talk about climate change?
  • Have cultural and cognitive biases distorted policy and the international negotiations?
  • How do climate change experts cope with what they know- and why do they fly so much?!
  • How can a deeper understanding of the psychological obstacles lead us to find new and effective ways to think, talk and act?

George Marshall will be speaking at UBC Reads Sustainability as part of his new book tour: Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change.


George Marshall is the founder of Climate Outreach and Information Network.  He is a leading European expert in climate change communications who over the past 25 years has worked at all levels of the environmental movement.  His clients have included trades unions, coal mining communities, human rights organisations, faith groups, Rotary Club, and politicians. He is a lead advisor to the Welsh Government.

UBC Reads Sustainability brings well-known sustainability authors to UBC’s Vancouver campus to engage in a campus-wide discussion. It's part book club, part lecture series, and part opportunity to learn beyond the classroom. Above all, it’s a forum for students across disciplines to discuss sustainability issues.